A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DHAKAITE
Mr Aayem Jonota is used to the Dhaka way of life, having moved here from his tiny village some thirty years ago. Like any Dhakaite, he is resilient, so although the recent troubled times have caused him some discomfort, life must go on, therefore his average, middleclass life has, for the most part been unaffected. Like all other Dhakaites, he has resolutely ignored the never-ending hartals. Who has time to waste at home? He wakes up as usual bright an early and gets ready for work, looks forward to it- -really. As he watches the morning news featuring a huge mob consisting of brick throwing and cocktail bearing opposition supporters, heading straight past his place of work, a stray thought wanders into his head, about the importance of job versus life, which of course he instantly dismisses. One has to earn a living afterall.
As he heads out for work he falters momentarily near the door of his newly purchased Toyota Corola as a vivid image of a wayward petrol bomb pops into his head. He shakes it off however as he recalls the bus he saw burning at the Kakoli intersection two nights ago-he had taken a photo of it and shared it on facebook. Car it is! As he drives into the street he looks cautiously around- could this be the day he finally runs out of luck? It is luck afterall that has spared him and his family from the mayhem on the streets. Thank God the schools are closed, he thinks to himself, instantly feeling a twinge of worry about his children's education. Safety first though, he comforts himself.
As he steers into work having avoided all the “high risk” areas and taking all the main roads- the sight of armed, seemingly vigilant policemen meets his eye, affording very little relief (he had seen them stand by idly, as a CNG was smashed last week). Work is as dull as usual, with unsettling news coming in from different quarters. “Arrest warrant out for opposition leader,” “16 people were killed in this district, 20 in that etc,” such is the drift of conversation during tea breaks. Thank goodness it wasn't anyone I know, he thinks to himself (albeit a little guiltily) but what can he do? He is just an ordinary citizen. Powerless and at the mercy of they who rule the country.
As office hours come to a close, a familiar trepidation overcomes him, as he thinks about the journey home. He repeatedly checks the news online, makes a few calls to inquire about the “street situation.” Two buses were burned in Mirpur, someone was shot, but that was in Motijheel, and oh yes a picketer was caught and beaten up by civilians a few hours ago, his wife informs him. With this knowledge he sets off into the vast concrete jungle once again, feeling vulnerable, a prayer on his lips. A large crowd of people are standing at the corner of his street, he holds his breath till he passes them and breathes a sigh of relief as he enters his gates. He dreads tomorrow when it'll all start again, but for now, he is safe.